Wayne's World: Wayne Shorter With The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra The saxophonist and composer has never been afraid to be an original thinker — which is part of why he's accomplished so much. He performs brand new big band arrangements of his old tunes.

Jazz Night In America

Wayne's World: Wayne Shorter With The Jazz At Lincoln Center OrchestraWBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Wayne's World: Wayne Shorter With The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/442917824/443200782" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wayne Shorter is a living legend — a saxophonist, composer and lifelong original thinker. He's never been afraid to be different, which is perhaps why he's accomplished so much. Among his accomplishments:

  • Music director for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers
  • Member of the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid-1960s
  • Co-founder of the band Weather Report
  • Bandleader and recording artist for more than 50 years
  • Winner of 10 Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement

He's revered by many generations of jazz lovers, including the members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. They created new arrangements of tunes from throughout his career. Then they performed those arrangements with him in May.

"He didn't have any requests for changes of anything, amazingly, as I reflect upon it," says reedman Victor Goines. "He was able to take what we had — even though he hasn't played some of those tunes in decades, I'm sure — and interpret them and make them as fresh as anything that is being written today."

Shorter frequently revisits some of his earlier compositions. But his objective isn't retrospective, or to recreate his older style. He always makes it a point to try to make his music new again.

"It's almost like as an adult to go outside and play with some other adults like they used to do when they were kids," Shorter says.

The man who called himself "Mr. Weird" as a kid is a huge film buff and loves science fiction. He's also a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, and that pushes him forward too.

"Hon Nim Myo," Shorter says. "It means from this moment, from this moment forward is the first day of my life. And don't, we don't lie and sit on accolades and rewards and awards and what-do-you-call-it, trophies, Grammys and this and that and bank accounts and fame and all that. That's the worst kind of fuel that you can rely on. The best kind of fuel that you can rely on is Hon Nim Myo. You start from now."

In this episode of Jazz Night In America, we hear selections from the concerts he performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York. And we visit Shorter at his house in Southern California to find out more about his many sources of inspiration.

"I always tell the kids when they ask, 'What do you think about when you play?'" Shorter says. "I say, 'All right, let's try to play what you wish for.' Play what you wish for. Play what you wish for the world to be."


Featuring Wayne Shorter (tenor and soprano saxophone) with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Ryan Kisor (trumpet), Marcus Printup (trumpet), Kenny Rampton (trumpet), Chris Crenshaw (trombone), Vincent Gardner (trombone), Elliot Mason (trombone), Walter Blanding (saxophones), Victor Goines (saxophones), Sherman Irby (saxophones), Ted Nash (saxophones), Paul Nedzela (baritone saxophone), Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums). Recorded May 16, 2015 at Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Jazz Night In America is a co-production of WBGO, Jazz at Lincoln Center and NPR Music.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Ernie Andrews Courtesy of HighNote Records hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of HighNote Records

Ernie Andrews On Piano Jazz

Hear the vocalist bring his own special mix of energy, drama and humor to this 1998 episode with host Marian McPartland.

Ernie Andrews On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/549414757/549414978" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Patrice Rushen Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Patrice Rushen On Piano Jazz

Hear the songwriter and master keyboardist perform with host Marian McPartland on this 1987 episode.

Patrice Rushen On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/545865051/545871170" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Dennis Manuel/Courtesy of the artist

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

This special summer festival episode features a clever synthesis of hip-hop, R&B and soul, recorded live across two music festivals in New York City.

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/542780066/542781768" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Bill Charlap and his mother, Sandy Stewart. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

Hear the cabaret singer and her pianist son bring a rare combination of swing and sophistication to a session with host Marian McPartland.

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/535960111/535960769" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marian McPartland and Eddie Gomez in 1993. R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives hide caption

toggle caption R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

The Grammy-winning bassist's sense of swing shines through on this session with Marian McPartland, who joins in on "My Foolish Heart" and "All Of You."

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/533993916/533995152" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joshua Redman on saxophone, Scott Colley on bass, Brian Blade on drums and Ron Miles on cornet perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Still Dreaming: Joshua Redman's Tribute To A Tribute

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The saxophonist opens up about the legacy of his father, Dewey Redman, and performs with Still Dreaming — his own nod to the quartet his dad once helped convene as an homage to Ornette Coleman.

Terence Blanchard is the guest on this week's Piano Jazz. Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

The Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer joins Marian McPartland to perform standards like "I Thought About You" with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi.

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/530240350/530241963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top